Hostel: Part II
Hostel: Part II kicks off with the usual flashback/nightmare scenario: the first instalment's only survivor, Paxton (Jay Fernandez), is back home but still suffers night sweats and fears that 'they' will find him. Find him they do and Paxton becomes the first victim of Eli Roth's follow up to 2005's grim Hostel. Swiftly moving the action eastwards, Roth lands us in the company of three American students - Beth (German), Whitney (Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) - who meet sexy model Axelle (Vera Jordanova) in Rome, when she whisks the girls away to a hostel (yes, that hostel) in Slovakia. With the girls' passports in the possession of the bad guys, a bidding war begins between top businessmen around the globe and the girls are auctioned off to fiery Todd (Burgi) and wimpy Stuart (Bart). Hostel played with the whole voyeur angle and its shock appeal was endearing, but this time Roth seems to be stumbling around for something new and can't seem to find it. Switching the gender of the victims isn't exactly rocket science so Roth attempts to get into the psyche of the torturers, giving them back-stories and fleshing them out some. It ends up a poor, half-hearted attempt, but it's an attempt nonetheless - you've got to give him that. Aware that we know the drill by now, Roth's dialogue at times seems lampoon-ish in delivery, but maybe this is an attempt to blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Although the torture scenes are more elaborate and thought out, the gore on show is surprisingly toned down in this sequel, as is the female nudity, with the only naked body on show in the first half of the film being a man's. A sequel that attempts to do something different with its one-note set-up has to be acknowledged, but the lazy execution is frustrating.
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